May 18-20, 2013.
Mahe Island, Seychelles.
I was lucky enough to get seven days off in a row. Not many jobs in the world can make that possible quite easily, so at that particular moment, I was very happy with what I do for a living. It did not happen though without me having to give away five days in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. But those were nothing compared to a mini vacation with my two most favorite boys in the whole wide world.
To follow are lotsssss of photos of this little paradise that is the island of Mahe…and as well as the three of us in several levels of…undress. Hihihi.
Seychelles is my boys first country in the continent of Africa so I was very excited for both of them. Note to Philippine passport holders: We don’t need a visa to visit here so go already. 🙂
At Dubai International Airport Terminal 3
Found my favorite South African restaurant chain, the Ocean Basket. If you have not tried this and you happen to find this somewhere, you gotta try it. Anything you order would make your tastebuds do back flips.
Seafood platter for my husband. This order was actually enough for the three of us.
Look how huge the kid’s platter was!
Four hours later, the sun said hello from the window and it was time to land.
Wake up, sleepy head. ❤
Seychelles International Airport
Our first choice, Constance Ephelia Hotel is not available until May 11. I have been there before and the place was huge and very relaxing, except for a few giant spiders that seemed to prosper in their trees. We hurriedly looked for other hotels from Agoda.com and decided to choose the hotels in the North. Our hotel, Coral Strand Smart Choice Hotel was just behind the mountain. It was a long drive from the airport and cabs would usually ask for 400 Seychellois rupees for one way. That is equivalent to about 50 USD. So we hired a car instead for three days, which cost us 1, 680 SCR plus gas. Not bad because we intended to drive around the island.
Our loyal guide. Unlike many city maps, this one stood the tests of water and several times of folding, unfolding and crumpling.
I love these yellow light bulbs for the street lights. They added to the provincial vibe of Mahe.
Personally, I was not impressed at all with Coral Strand. It looked so different in person than in the photos. I felt like I was back in my dormitory in the university. They would say that children below 12 years of age are free of charge but they automatically charged 50 euros per day for his breakfast. They cancelled the charge eventually after we talked to the manager.
Straight to the beach, of course!
The pool was nothing fancy. It was always warm, which was nice, but it tasted different and painful to the eyes. Maybe it was recently treated or something.
Our matching havaianas that I bought from my trip to Rio de Janeiro a few days before.
The best thing about our hotel— its long stretch of white, shifting sands.
A proud white mansion beside our hotel. This is a mansion for rent, usually rented out to moneyed Arabs. Behind this mansion are self-catering rooms for 50 euros a day.
Snapshot by my little man.
I warned you about this.
Yugix’ favorite thing to draw–castles.
The setting sun.
Our comfy bed. I was about to sleep and husband was just starting work at the back.
Look at my colorful visitor early in the morning.
Hey there, good-looking.
Two-lane road in the mountain. My husband complained why can’t they make the roads a little wider. I said that is probably how they want it. To work around their nature rather than make nature for them.
A Hindu temple.
Mahe bus station.
Down from a mountain to another mountain.
Vines hang like curtain across the road.
The Tea House. The restaurant was closed but we saw some workers packing the tea into the tea bags and into the boxes. Seychelles is famous for their tea, so if you are a tea-holic, this little place in the mountain would give you happiness.
View from the tea house compound. This was our first lookout point.
Further down, is the Port Glaud. This is the same way going to Constance Ephelia Resort.
Unlike the uninterrupted beaches of Beau Vallon, here at Port Glaud, huge boulders of rocks jut out from the water or are grouped together into a rugged, beautiful pile.
You can look but won’t find anything in here.
My embarassing attempt at panoramic shot.
We turned right and we found a restaurant, just in time for our grumbling stomachs.
Another panoramic fail.
Hub’s paparazzi shot of me.
I forgot what they call of this dish but it was “kinilaw” to me. It was raw fish with lemon and other spices.
Ric’s octopus curry.
Fortunately, outsiders can have free access at the beach in Constance Ephelia. This was so much better than the beach in Beau Vallon.
Hey you, sexy!
Mommy and daddy time.
My cutie patootie in his snorkling mask.
Meanwhile, back at Beau Vallon, we went out for dinner because we just assumed that it would cost us an arm to eat at the hotel.
This restaurant right across our hotel opens only at night. We saw that it was always full so we had to try it before our stay would end.
I assume the name is after the famous black pearls of Seychelles.
Seafood pesto for me.
Tuna for Ric which he devoured with great delight.
Burger and chips for the baby.
Seybrew, a local beer.
The restaurant owner put up a wall frame of different currencies left by its passing guests from different corners of the world. I saw a very interesting find.
A pund sterling from the United Stated of Jersey and old money of Italy. 🙂
We had to leave a peso. Must be the first Philippine peso on that board.
Breakfast buffet at Coral Strand was not bad at all. It was way better than my expectations. There were two coffee machines that made cappuccino and et cetera at a touch of a button so we always had pleasant mornings during our stay.
Just a jump away from our breakfast table.
CHECK OUT time.
We drove around to other attractions on our last day.
A Catholic church.
The flag of Seychelles.
First stop–the botanical garden.
The Guinness Book of World Records holder for being the world’s biggest nut (that sounds fun!), the Coco de Mer.
That’s the phallic seed of the coco de mer, as big as two human heads combined together.
This liqueur right here is now sitting proudly on top of our alcohol stand. We bought it for around 30 USD.
photo from vacanceo.com
The highlight for the Botanical Garden tour—the Seychelles giant tortoises. I do not think visitors are allowed to pet them here. But they let us in Constance Ephelia. These gentle giants are known to live for over a hundred years. The oldest known tortoise is over 180 years old.
The tortoises in COnstance Ephelia Resort.
This gentleman is over a hundred years old.
My room in Constance Ephelia. This bathtub faces a ceiling to floor glass window.
Spell T-I-R-E-D. It was a hot day.
This swamp filled with lilies reminded me of those adventure books that I read when I was younger.
These purple ones are North African lilies.
If I had known before, I would have searched for the Seychelles carnivorous pitcher plant. For now, I will settle for this.
Too hot and too tired to walk to the bats. That’s about it.
Drove back to Victoria, the capital of Seychelles. I have read somewhere that it is one of the smallest capitals in the world.
This is Victoria’s clocktower, one of the attractions in the city. It is quite a humble model from London’s Little Ben. Seychelles was once a British colony, hence, the architectural influence.
The Victoria Courthouse.
We wanted to go to their National Museum of History but they were closed on that day.
The time was one in the afternoon. We were hungry, hot and tired with no more accommodation to sleep in. We drove towards the airport and past it.
We went further down to the South and were surprised to find more of paradise.
We moved on to look for a place to stay. A room in this self-catering hostel charges 100$ per day. That’s the average cost of rent in this area.
A few kilometers and another mountain later…the view worthy of myths and legends—Anse Royal.
It is landscape design at its finest. Only superior immortals could do that.
The water was so clear and blue that it was hard to see where the water ends and the sky begins.
In a true Asian traveler fashion, I had to take a selfie. 🙂
Stopping by for lunch. This is the restaurant with accommodation that has dolphins on its name. I find everything very expensive in Mahe, particularly food. Think about this, I paid more for my food here than in Monaco or Manhattan. Whether you are backpacking or not, expect to bleed serious cash. A small water bottle from a grocery store costs around 2 USD.
Another curry for Ric. Seychellois cuisine seemed to have a lot of Indian influence.
Found our lovely abode for six hours–the Au Fond de Mer. They are just a few feet away from one of Mahe’s best beaches and they let us pay for only half the price since we were staying only for a few hours. It is a self-catering villa that is run by a very warm couple, Solana and her husband. She was a genuinely kind lady without a doubt but when we were about to leave, she asked my husband if he has a sister who might like to work as a househelp in her apartments. That didn’t leave a nice ring to my ears for sure. Being a maid is a noble job, but we can do a lot better than have a worldwide reputation as a #1 source for househelps. Just saying!
The room was very clean and the choice of furnitures were far from shabby. I am allergic to tacky furnitures so I was really happy that we found this place.
Last chance to hit the beach. We read in reviews that this area is the best place to snorkel. Honestly, I would say the beach in Constance Ephelia is better.
Shout out to my girlfriend for too long, Madame Rose for giving this beach wraparound. 🙂
Definitely one of the days that I wish would never end.
Took this photo because of the sign/. 🙂
To give my overall impression about Mahe, it is a very exotic destination. The locals are a beautiful mix of European, African, Arab and Indian origins. They speak English, French and African-French creole. They were warm people. When I waved to them, they waved back with a big smile and would not stop until you do. The roads to the mountains were especially narrow, so when our car fell into a canal, several locals dropped whatever they were doing and lifted the car back up into the road. They have one of the best beaches in the world with the unique landscape touches of the giant, smooth boulders of rocks. Most especially, I love the provincial feel that remained intact despite the boom of the tourism industry. If you are looking to relax, you have found the ideal place. But if you are thinking of relaxing under the tropical sun while sipping freshly squeezed pineapple juice mixed with your favorite rum for a small amount of money, then this is not the place that you should go. But you know what, all your money spent will be worth it.
Before I leave in peace, these are the beautiful faces of Mahe that I grabbed from the worldwideweb.
Seychelles Tourism Board flicker
Halfie Seychellois from nomadiknation.com